By the fifth day I was restless and worried that Raven and Eric might have decided to skip Salzburg in favor of Venice. Susyn argued that we should spend one more day in Salzburg before we moved on.
Susyn had a sunny, open disposition. Every day was an adventure to her. When she made her rounds each morning, the head of the local police treated her with an avuncular familiarity that would probably have gotten steamy if she had let it. She described his antics every noon when we met to compare notes. Her mobile, comic’s face made him so real that I could almost see his moustache.
“You are very good with people,” I said.
“But, Ian, that’s easy if you like people.”
“You must be very valuable to Senator Cabral.”
She grinned. “He says so. But, of course, he is valuable to me, too. Without him, I would be secretary to some insurance salesman.”
“No. Not you.” It was not so much a compliment as an observation. Beneath her competence and friendliness, Susyn had a burning core of ambition. “How did you meet Senator Cabral?”
“I was working as a secretary – for an insurance salesman.” She grinned at me. “I didn’t like it and I was looking for a way out. The Senator was just running for his first term then. He looked like a winner, so I joined his team as a volunteer and worked my way up to a staff job. Six years later, here I am in Europe.”
“For the first time,” I said. She had told me early on that she had not been to Europe before.
“For the first time, and loving every minute of it. I want to find Raven, but I’ll miss this when I take her back. And I’ll miss you.”
“Tell me more about this drug dealer. I don’t understand why he is still after Raven. Surely he has figured out by now that she was not sent damaging information.”
“How could he be really sure? For a man like that, it would be better to act than to worry, and if that action includes murder, it wouldn’t bother him very much.”
“But a senator’s daughter? He should know that the Feds would never let him alone after killing her. Somehow, they would get him.”
“How could anyone know what happened to Raven if she simply disappeared in mid-ocean? After that, I can only speculate, but perhaps he is afraid to have her come back to California and testify. Anyway, why isn’t really important. It’s just important that we find her.”
I thought about the forces we were facing. They remained unreal in my mind. I had seen them through binoculars when they threw Raven into the sea. I had seen them up close on board the Wahini. Sitting now with Susyn, I stared at the livid scar across the back of my hand, trying to bring the skinny thug into focus. It was no use. My loss of Raven made them seem small and unimportant.
My mistake. more tomorrow